- Archimedes' Principle
- Archimedes (287-212 B.C.) was a legend during his lifetime. He was a brilliant mathematician and an inventor of the Archimedes' screw, a machine for raising water. Although the lever had been in use long before Archimedes, he worked out the theoretical mathematical principles of its use. He designed the pulley and the windlass, but is best remembered for his work with hydrostatics. His unforgettable cry "Eureka" has made him famous ever since. But it wasn't the cry, it was what he deduced: the Archimedes' principle of specific gravity. His remarkable discovery arose because Hieron, King of Syracuse in Sicily, wished to determine whether a crown was of pure gold or whether the goldsmith had fraudulently alloyed it with some silver. While mulling over this problem,Archimedes came to a place of bathing, and there, as he sat in the tub, realized that the amount of water he had displaced must be equal to the bulk of his immersed body. It is said that he did run nude through the streets and did excitedly shout "Eureka" ("I've found it" in Greek). Ever since, the word eureka has been an interjection to express surprise. Archimedes was born in Syracuse, Sicily, and died there while pursuing a problem. The Romans took the town of Syracuse in 212 B.C. However, orders had been issued by the Roman consul Marcellus that Archimedes was not to be harmed, but brought to him alive. The story has it that a Roman soldier informed Archimedes of Marcellus's order, to which Archimedes replied that he was working on a geometrical problem in the sand. "I'll come when I'm finished," he said. Unfortunately the Roman warrior was impatient and with his sword slew Archimedes.
Dictionary of eponyms. Morton S. Freeman. 2013.